SEATTLE – Joe Ayoob quickly answered any quarterback questions California may have had. Making his first career start, Ayoob threw four first-half touchdown passes as the 16th-ranked Golden Bears coasted to a 56-17 victory over Washington in the Pac-10 Conference opener for both teams.
The Golden Bears' season-opening 41-3 rout of Sacramento State came at a major price when redshirt freshman quarterback Nate Longshore suffered a broken left ankle late in the first half. He is expected to miss the remainder of the season. With Longshore sidelined, the starting job fell to Ayoob, the 2004 Junior College Player of the Year at City College of San Francisco (CCSF) who failed to complete any of his 10 passes in the opener before being replaced by third-stringer Steve Levy.
Ayoob more than rewarded the faith shown by coach Jeff Tedford, one of the top quarterback coaches in the country who has produced six first-round NFL draft picks. In the first half, Ayoob completed 13-of-20 passes for 227 yards and an interception as the Golden Bears (2-0, 1-0 Pac-10) built a 28-10 lead. He threw TD passes of 9, 24, and 58 yards to Robert Jordan and added a 13-yard connection to David Gray with under two minutes left in the half.
Ayoob turned things over to the running game in the second half and finished 17-of-27 for 271 yards. His favorite target was Jordan, who had 11 catches for 192 yards and three scores.
In the second half, senior tailback Marcus O'Keith rushed for two touchdowns, including a 71-yard jaunt. Junior cornerback Daymeion Hughes added a 41-yard TD after his interception and sophomore running back Justin Forsett scored on a 35-yard run on the game's final play.
All did not go perfect for the Bears. Standout sophomore tailback Marshawn Lynch, the main clog in Cal's potent offensive attack, broke the pinkie finger on his left hand during the 1st play from scrimmage for the Bears in the second half. He did not return to the game. Lynch is expected to play next week when Cal hosts Big 10 squad, Illinois.
It has been a disappointing start for Huskies (0-2, 0-1) under first-year coach Tyrone Willingham, who was hired after being fired by Notre Dame. The Huskies have lost eight straight games dating to last season.
While at Stanford, Willingham posted 7-0 record against Cal. That record now has a blemish while Tedford moves to 4-0 lifetime against the Huskies. Junior quarterback Isaiah Stanback was one of the lone bright spots for the Huskies. He went 22-of-39 for 301 yards, two touchdowns and an interception.